The latest Hedge Fund Tracker analysis shows the top funds managed approximately $159 billion in equity holdings, an increase from the $153 billion under management in Q4 2016. The total number of equity positions held also increased from 424 in Q4 to 427 in Q1, as hedge funds made a significant move into the consumer staples sector.
The volume of hedge fund buying in the consumer staples sector this past quarter was the highest level of buying activity we’ve seen in that sector since we began tracking this data in 2013. This momentum is a signal that hedge funds, as a group, are seeing upside potential in the non-cyclical, consumer staples sector, which can be more resilient in times of recession.
Following is a summary of findings in the Q1 2017 Hedge Fund Tracker:
- Top funds flock to consumer staples: The consumer staples sector was the biggest net buy for the top pure play hedge funds, with $3.4 billion in new purchases made during the quarter. Currently, 15% of top fund equity holdings are concentrated in the sector, up from around 6% in 2013.
- Procter & Gamble Company is biggest single buy: Hedge funds bought 30.3 million shares of Procter & Gamble stock in Q1, for a total investment of $2.7 billion. Other stocks receiving attention from hedge fund buyers were Praxair ($1.4 billion), Marriott ($1.4 billion), Constellation Brands ($859 million), and Formula One Group ($765.3 million).
- Hedge funds exit Microsoft, Amazon: The information technology and financial sectors saw the largest volume of hedge fund selling in Q1, with Microsoft ($1.6 billion), Amazon ($1.6 billion), and Autodesk ($912 million). Other significant sell-offs were noted in Safran ($898 million) and Charter Communications ($732 million).
- Increase in equity AUM: Total equity AUM for hedge funds in the analysis increased to $159 billion in the quarter, $6 billion higher than the $153 billion reported in Q4 2016. The total number of equity positions held increased from 424 in Q4 2016 to 427. Soroban Capital Partners was the most active hedge fund in the equity markets.
S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzes the latest quarterly 13F filings* to determine the top ten largest hedge funds based on reported equity assets. Further analysis isolates the universe to pure-play hedge funds that focus on stock picks and hones that universe further to isolate the hedge funds that overweight their biggest investments by capping the number of stocks held at 100. S&P Global Market Intelligence performs this research quarterly in order to understand what the most prominent hedge funds are buying, holding and selling. The firm develops the analysis through an examination of both industry filings as well as Excel-based holding models, allowing clients to quickly spot global trends in asset category and understand what some of the largest investors buying, selling and holding.
S&P Global Market Intelligence also provides rankings on approximately 1,100 equity and fixed income ETFs based on performance, risk and cost factors, including holdings-level analysis and expenses.